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[ep.1 spoilers inside] Number of locations per episode

posted by onemanandhisdroid on - last edited - Viewed by 125 users

I've seen people claim that the jungle bits in Episode1 were intended to make the game's area seem larger than it actually is, in particular by turning it into a maze consisting of the same screens over and over if you dare to enter without one of 'em maps.

For me this was a hommage to the classic LA games of old, Zak and Monkey Island in particular and it provided the source material for some pretty fun map puzzling to boot on tops. Still, it got me thinking about the format at hand. Now if you're being honest, your average Monkey Island island has never had that many places you could explore. This ain't Morrowind or something. Still after seeing how there are a total of two buildings you could enter in Flotsam's settlement, I'm wondering if it's actually possible to portray something like say Woodtick given ToMI's build. And still offering some bits of island to explore on tops. All off a sudden it seems like 1991 all over again - where every bits of art, sound and animation was surely something really hard fought for - and the Amiga version of MI2 still shipped on a whopping 7 discs or something. That's got to hurt.

Constraints are everywhere, except if you're working on a Blizzard game it seems. Sometimes constraints prove to be a plus, in particular if a team of artists has learned to build within the confines of those constraints rather than desperately trying to pave their way around them. Something that Telltale are surely used to be doing given their schedules at hand - Flotsam is a pretty tight place with a good deal of stuff to do for a reason. Yeah, well, as said, it still got me pondering a bit. :)

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  • I think you're right there. There are only a few things i'm disappointed with after the first episode, and most of them could be put down to limited disk-space because of download-format. It's a pity, but I just think TT may be ahead of the technology at the moment. That said, I don't have a great connection and it took all of about 2.5 minutes to download, as far as i'm concerned (and I know other people have other circumstances) the game could be 2-3 times bigger without my even beginning to bother about the amount of my months-worth of data i'm taking up.

    Even then, however, the amount of time between episodes put constraints on the amount of rooms etc. I do like the episodal format, but I think there is a large amount of potential in the stories for MI which just aren't being built on, as we are left with a semi-hollow place which (as onemanandhisdroid mentioned) isn't the case even in MI2.

  • @Gryffalio said: IThat said, I don't have a great connection and it took all of about 2.5 minutes to download, as far as i'm concerned (and I know other people have other circumstances) the game could be 2-3 times bigger without my even beginning to bother about the amount of my months-worth of data i'm taking up.

    Thing is if it would fit into WiiWare format still, even with all details towned down by a notch. But like you said...

    Even then, however, the amount of time between episodes put constraints on the amount of rooms etc. I do like the episodal format, but I think there is a large amount of potential in the stories for MI which just aren't being built on, as we are left with a semi-hollow place which (as onemanandhisdroid mentioned) isn't the case even in MI2.

    Mind, they've distanced themselves from this being Monkey Island 5 for a reason - the reason being that they cannot create the AAA budget, epic, swash-buckling, VGA graphics, Bill Tiller-art, two-dee-point'n'click :D adventure anyyone and his daddy would expect from such a title.

    Personally I wouldn't say Episode 1 sports a hollow place, I think Telltale did a pretty fine job on this - cramming as much interactivity into a rather small space as is. To be forced to do this can do goodness all by itself - the old Monkey games had screens in which there's basically nothing to do at all. Well, except admiring pixel art in 320x200 resolution. For what it's worth, I think the number of screens/locations isn't even substantially lower than in your average Monkey Island chapter. But, yeah, the rendering of township is one thing that got me a little thinking. It's basically just an alleyway and the doc's lab. Not that Melee town had been anything like San:Andreas either, heh. This isn't meant as criticism per se - I'm just not familiar with the whole of TT's portfolio quite yet, which means I'm kind of guessing at what's possible and not.

    Plus, without the recycling of locations like in the Sam&Max seasons, which nevertheless also made for an appropriate narrative for its format, this is going to be a more "epic" experience all by itself.

  • To me it seems like Flotsam has many locations as Melee island (can't find somewhere with the accents on the word to copy/paste), if you don't count the idols. Remember, there was melee town and all the places you could enter there as well as Stan’s, Meathook's house, Carla's house, the sword trainer's house, the circus and Troll Bridge and possibly more, I can't remember.

    If anything there were fewer locations on Flotsam the locations there including; the main town, "Big Gut's" hut, the shrine in the jungle... Include all the idols and that's all I can think of. You might want to include the ships from the opening scene, though, as they were playable. (But then you might want to look at the troll bridge as somewhere comparable to the idols and there are almost no puzzles at all at the sword trainer's house).

  • Flotsam doesn't even have half the areas as Melee, especially if you consider the fact you could actually go into all the buildings in Melee.

    Anyway, the main constraint in the size of the island is the episodic format. We'll never see something like in MI 2 where we could sail between the three islands, in Tales.

  • @turingmachine604 said: Flotsam doesn't even have half the areas as Melee, especially if you consider the fact you could actually go into all the buildings in Melee.


    Are you talking about Melee Town or the entire island? If you don't count the Scumm Bar and the governor's mansion, there's a total of three buildings you can enter: a church, a prison and the Voodoo lady's very first shack in a long line of Voodoo lady shacks. Well, you can enter pretty much all of those buildings, but you know where all those doors are getting you by now. :D

    Playing a little bit of devil's advocate here: On the one hand I was totally expecting to be able to enter at least Club41 at one point in the game and I thought the courtyard would play its role as well. On the other, well let's not forget that Flotsam "Town" is pretty much a makeshift settlement of stranded SCUMM o' the seas, it's not even an actual town or anything.

    Yet I wouldn't focus entirelly on this township thing quite yet - only time and upcoming episodes will tell whether there's a place for bigger islands in this format and schedule or not. But then not every episode has to play on some kind of island, now does it? That's so cliche. I could imagine one episode playing entirelly on the Narwhale and thereabouts, telling a more character-focused story about a haunted ship the crew gets to find, or one telling about Guybrush's ongoing struggle with his hand, or something. Lack of epics don't necessarily mean a bad thing, in particular with the apt writers and animators being at work here. We'll see!

    Yeah that, and about MI's open-endedness with Guybrush being able to access multiple islands at once: In all fairness, chapter2 in MI2 is the only time in the Monkey Island series this ever happens.

  • Interesting points. TTG have said that Tales will probably have less locations that the previous games, but more than previous TTG games. I was actually expecting less.

    It seems however, that you can only buy Tales episodes in a bundle rather than individually now? That means everyone who has episode 2 already has episode 1. So my point is couldn't future episodes feature Islands from the previous ones without having to make each download bigger?

    By the end of the season you could could have all 5 islands to explore!

  • @Toothless Gibbon said: It seems however, that you can only buy Tales episodes in a bundle rather than individually now? That means everyone who has episode 2 already has episode 1. So my point is couldn't future episodes feature Islands from the previous ones without having to make each download bigger?

    By the end of the season you could could have all 5 islands to explore!

    That could be quite nice, though it'd have to be deliberately designed like that, and (though i'm not sure what TTG are doing with this game) with most I think they like to give you the option to only buy one episode. I think that's a redundant feature past ep1/last ep, and it'd be an interesting idea.

    Alternatively, they could do a couple of episodes on the same island, adding in a few more features in the second of the episodes, and thereby saving space in that episode for some really nice features being added in.

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